Well, here it is. I am officially old. O-L-D. I’ve been dreading this for several years, but time is the one thing we can’t escape. I. Am. Forty. There, I said it. I am 40. The last few years I’ve really dreaded this marker of time. Yet in the last few weeks I’ve reflected back over the past decade and I’m pretty okay that I survived my thirties. They were HARD!! And I’m finding that I really like what I’ve learned about myself over the last ten years. I wouldn’t trade myself today for that person ten years ago.
I thought I would share with you some of the big things I’ve learned over the last ten years. I hope they encourage you to seize today and trust the future.
- Be Healthy Both physically and mentally. I made a choice along the way to make changes. I was in an unsafe situation that lead me to be unhealthy mentally and physically. I got counseling. I started eating better. I got a fitness trainer. Get people on your side and do what it takes to be healthy.
- Know Your Value You were created in the image of God and have so much value!! Don’t let people diminish that or treat you poorly. For any reason. I lost my value until my early thirties. It took awhile to reclaim it. The work was worth it. Don’t let anyone take that from you.
- It’s okay to say NO It’s okay in a relationship, friendship, work setting, where ever. You were not created to be Superwoman. You can’t do it all. It’s really healthy to have boundaries. Take care of yourself, you don’t have to please everyone. You can say no to situations you’re not comfortable with or commitments that would over burden you.
- Serve Others This is a great way to gain some perspective and get outside of whatever is going on in your head. If you feel called to go overseas, do it. I went to Guatemala four years ago and it was amazing! Or find a local project to involve your whole family. Serve regularly at your church or in your community. Teach your kids acts of service, a regular giving of yourself for a greater good.
- Take Your Filter Off You mean something to someone, somewhere. Your stories and experiences that God has brought you through will help someone. So quit feeling like what you have to offer isn’t valuable. I keep working on this. I have interesting thoughts and many crazy life experiences that are helpful to others going through similar situations. That’s why I’m trying to take off my filter and let this stuff spill outta my noggin now.
- Keep a Few Good Friends Have just a few people that you can share ANYTHING with. You’ll usually keep them around because they just know too much about you!! But sometimes friendships are for a season, and that’s okay. You can appreciate the good times and shared stories, but if it’s not a somewhat equal back and forth friendship, it’s okay to let it go. Or if your season has changed, it’s okay to grow beyond the friendship.
- Wear Sunscreen and Drink More Water Those old age spots will creep up on you!! And when you’re dehydrated all sorts of disturbing stuff starts going on. I won’t even freak you out with all those details. So slather on the spf and drink! (or I will tell you the creepy details…)
- Keep Moving Forward Don’t get stuck. We all go through difficult things. Life is hard. You get hurt. You get angry. You get depressed. For a short season. Don’t live in or react out of those places. God gives us hope and we can trust that. He tells us He works all things out for the good of those who love Him. Your labels don’t define you nor do your seasons. Keep walking with Him, you will get to where He has called you.
- It’s Okay to Not Have it All Figured Out How many people do? Living is messy. My best laid plans don’t even compare to what God has planned. That doesn’t mean just fly through life by the seat of your pants. Be intentional, take some risks, put some thought into life, then open yourself up to what the Holy Spirit is ready to do through you.
- Adventure Live life fully. Don’t wait for tomorrow. Or for the right person to do it with. Or the right belongings. Dance. Climb something. Run somewhere. Go to an art exhibit. Go to some crazy punk rock show. Dance some more. Tell people you care about them, even when it’s scary. Travel. Explore. Love yourself and this life God has given you. You only get to be 40 once, and I don’t plan to miss a second of it!